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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on July 28, 2014

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Recent Posts

eye sore?

@ April 30, 2011 1:19 AM in Cooling Options

have a look yourself at the mitsubishi/fujitsu mini-splits and see how sore your eyes can get. search for "mr slim".
in my experience, they are minimally intrusive inside and outside, and are certainly an improvement on window units!--nbc

out of the blue after such a long time!

@ April 30, 2011 1:09 AM in Are Jandy pool heaters considered High quality? Mad Dog

thank you so much for the correction in the laars history.
what a wonderful web site we are part of to bring out the contributions of family members of the original engineers/founders!--nbc

1-pipe plus mini-pipe system

@ April 29, 2011 10:01 AM in New steam mini tube system installed in my own house. (Iron Fireman style)

as ttekushan has suggested,
"I also have to wonder if this isn't a pretty good solution to single pipe system conversions as well, where you could run 3/8" OD to a single pipe radiator's vent tapping (drilled & re-tapped if necessary) and use the existing supply piping for return. No traps. Re-size that boiler for the heat loss and away you go! Just a thought, since we're breaking the rules as it is.--terry "
couldn't the paul system be converted to a vent feed from a mini-tube? isn't it just a modified 1-pipe? in the vent hole, and out the old supply! would it still be necessary to size a replacement boiler on the radiation?
kevin's idea of the condensing boiler operating the system at sub-atmospheric pressures is most interesting!--nbc

different materials and their cost

@ April 29, 2011 9:12 AM in 560k output for 3200 sq ft

surely the other cheaper bidder will not use the same materials you had chosen for this job.
there must be a way to protect your intellectual property [the heating design for this house] from pirates like these homeowners, and their installer. perhaps if they had set a budget first, it would have been less of a shock. perhaps if more of these homeowners spent more time on this site, they would see what goes into a correctly sourced and installed system.
they will be probably lucky to get a bosch wall-hung hot water heater with a recirculating pump, and even that installation may be incorrect. or half-way through the job, the installer will say that his installation does not include the "extra cost" flue or gas piping. and let's not pay for an inspection!--nbc

"swimming with your raincoat on"

@ April 28, 2011 2:33 PM in Radiator covers . Need help !

since your system already has to overcome the insulating effects of radiator enclosures, it would be doubly important to make sure the system is in very good operating condition. this would include lots of good mainline venting, and low steam pressure for a quick response to a call for heat.--nbc

1920's steam oil to gas

@ April 28, 2011 9:01 AM in Oil to gas burner conversion for 1920s boiler

at least with a new boiler, you would have a more predictable changeover, than merely changing the burner. is the system 1-pipe or 2-pipe?
one place to start would be to add up the capacity of the radiation [not the bldg heat-loss], so that you would know what capacity burner/boiler you need.
can you post some pictures of your current boiler, and piping? your present boiler may actually be quite inefficient even though appearing to work well, and its replacement would use less therms of energy. what is the capacity of the present boiler/burner?--nbc

new boiler installation

@ April 26, 2011 10:58 AM in Backup low water cutoff.

perhaps a requirement of the new boiler "to be installed following the manufacturer's instructions to the letter in threaded iron pipe".
it would be a good idea to get a vaporstat, and low pressure gauge [0-3 psi] and have them installed at the same time. will your auto-fill record the water usage [very handy].
what sort of main vents are on the system now? if you had to balance the steam arrival, with your radiator vents, then it is likely that you need more main venting, and slower radiator vents [hoffman 40's].
the header should pitch to the equalizer, but the rest of the main should slope towards the dry return.--nbc

time for a professional

@ April 26, 2011 10:14 AM in Tired of draining water

see if you can find a pro on the find a contractor section here. the zip code feature is sometimes not working, but they listings by state are ok.
while waiting, have a look at the boiler, and wrap tape around every steam related pipe you see [return w/hartford loop, risers/header. any additional pipes connected to the boiler could be to a possibly leaking hot-water coil.
not only are you tired of draing water each day, but also your boiler will be tired of all that fresh oxygenated water [the enemy of cast iron!]--nbc 

high effiency boilers

@ April 23, 2011 6:05 PM in 100 hp boiler needs replacing

those boilers, with a new gas gun may be surprisingly efficient, when compared to other light commercial boilers [80-84%]. with a modulating burner, only one boiler may be able to do the job, as you will have no need for process steam.
how many floors are there? don't plan on a conversion to hot water unless you are re-piping, and perhaps re-radiating the system.
i hope  you will keep us informed as to the progress on this project.--nbc

gate valve stories

@ April 22, 2011 11:37 PM in It must have been that way for YEARS!!

my experience has been that the gates of the gate valve can get unhooked from their carrier, and thus remain closed. i prefer ball valves for that reason.--nbc

wika gauge

@ April 21, 2011 11:15 AM in Another Water Hammer Question

don't worry about the temperature of the boiler water affecting the gauge, as the pigtail will keep a cushion of air between the gauge and the steam. don't forget that the useless 0-30 psi gauge must remain somewhere on the boiler.
i think you will gain great satisfaction from doing the hartford loop repipe yourself, and you do have all summer to get it done.--nbc

another possibility for hammer

@ April 21, 2011 8:46 AM in Another Water Hammer Question

your pressuretrol may have become dysfunctional, allowing the pressure to rise above the normal [2 psi for basic function, or 12 ounces for efficiency and comfort].
only a good low-pressure gauge [0-3 psi gaugestore.com] will show you what your true pressure is, as the supplied pressuretrol/30 psi gauge is just to inaccurate.--nbc

no copper for risers/headers

@ April 20, 2011 9:32 AM in Too much water =boiler shot

use copper only for the returns below the waterline!
the layout of the header will be shown in the installation manual for the boiler you choose. they may not show the drop header configuration, but that is a benefit not only for ensuring dry steam, but also for ease of installation. do a search here for threads on the subject, and you will see its benefits. 
make sure that the capacity is matched to the radiation in square feet-not the building  heat-loss.--nbc

radiator covers=energy hogs??

@ April 20, 2011 12:24 AM in Radiator covers . Need help !

why not post some pictures of the radiators and their covers so we can see what their effect would be.
as an engineer, you must know that "....energy can neither be created nor destroyed"; however it can certainly be slowed down. it is that slowing down which is the enemy here.--nbc

worries about "b" and "a" dimension

@ April 20, 2011 12:18 AM in setting dimension B

keep your new boiler "mechanical free" by using a gravity return, with only a few ounces of pressure, using a vaporstat. a pressuretrol will be supplied with your new boiler, but this is best used as a weight to keep the pages of the instruction manual open for the installers, while they work.
is flooding a real concern here? if the boiler must be raised, then a drop-header would help to keep the steam dry.--nbc

10 year old leaker

@ April 19, 2011 8:11 PM in Too much water =boiler shot

the piping on that has not been done correctly, and has caused the short lifespan. the lack of any real header, and the reducers on the risers cost 100 times what they saved the installer! i would expect to get 30 years out of a properly installed boiler.
this new installation would lend itself to a drop-header, which would be easier for a firsttimer to install. as you have all summer, why not do what you can do and leave the burner to the pros? replacement sections may be available, which would let you use the burner for a few more years.
even just removing the old boiler yourself could save quite a bit.--nbc

10 year-old steamer probs

@ April 18, 2011 11:30 AM in Boiler using too much water

if all the piping is visible, and there are no signs of leaking there, then ask the tech if other boilers in your area have had problems perhaps due to bad local water, with excessive chlorides. look around the area near your boiler and see if there could be some cleaning product with chlorides in it.
it is also useful to know the cause of an early failure before replacing the boiler, or it's sections [bad piping, graphitic corrosion, thermal shock, etc.]--nbc

plenty of other misinformation on that site!

@ April 17, 2011 11:12 AM in How to Install a Condensing Combi Boiler

if not gross misinformation, then over simplification which gives the same results!--nbc

animations

@ April 5, 2011 10:50 PM in Looking for heating system animations.

the internet/youtube is very searchable by key word+video. why not do some searching for various keywords [sometimes plus name of manufacturer], and i am sure you will come up with more videos than we knew of!--nbc

new piping-repiping-spitting

@ March 26, 2011 9:24 AM in new boiler water spittlng air vents

get a good low-pressure gauge [gaugestore.com 0-3 psi], and put it on the same pigtail as the pressuretrol, and tell us your pressure in ounces. if the dirty water from a new install has clogged the pigtail, your pressure could shoot up out of control, pushing water up in the returns.
have you compared your piping with the mfg's minimum specs for diameters and layout?--nbc

the noise factor

@ March 26, 2011 7:00 AM in Steam versus Hot Air

why not arrange a demonstration of the difference in noise between the 2 systems: at some meeting where the deciding parties are, plug in first an electric hair dryer, and then an en electric kettle. ask them which would be more objectionable.
the new mini-split a/c's are quite quiet.--nbc

to tilt or not that is the question

@ March 25, 2011 1:07 AM in Tilting Main Lines & Short Cycling

some systems tilt the main away from the boiler, and are known as "counterflow", while the majority are "parallel-flow" with the main sloped away from the boiler.
a better explanation would be in "the lost art of steam heating" available from the shop here.
as far as short-cycling, the best way to analyse the situation is to find out when it happens--beginning of the cycle [during venting through inadequate main vents?], or during the main part of the cycle [over-sized boiler?]. knowing the exact pressure in ounces would help as well.--nbc